Category Archives: stumbling blocks

NaNoWriMo Day 19: Some Reflections

 

  • Current word count: 18,715. Aiming for 20k before this day is over.
  • I will never again attempt NaNoWriMo knowing I have a book release pending on Cyber Monday. Now I’m falling behind on two different but equally important writing projects. (Or, perhaps I should just not plan a book release during November so I can participate in NaNoWriMo.)
  • Migraine headaches have reared their ugly heads which also has affected my progress.
  • As I near the end of this story, it is most likely NOT going to be 50k. It’s predecessor in the series (Prophecy Revealed) is not that long either. Not that I won’t write 50K…I’ll just start book 3 of the series when book 2 is completed.
  • The Essential Clannad CD has been my soundtrack for working on this project. I wish I could use their music for the trailer, but I’ll have to find something comparable to the mood, and feel of their music on incompetech.com.

 

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Filed under Corithian Saga, creativity, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Writing, Goals and Resolutions, music, Nanowrimo, New Release, Novel Writing, self-confidence, self-discipline, Staying focused, stumbling blocks, writing

Why I don’t Write Book Reviews

As some of you may remember, I used to do blog posts known as “Friday Five”. I would feature 5 titles from a specific genre each friday. Many of these titles were indie/self-published.

I would simply post the cover, blurb, and amazon/bn/smashword links. No one book got special treatment over any other.

While I was requesting for people to email me their info about said books, if they wanted me to include them, I started getting requests for all kinds of things from book reviews to author interviews, etc. THIS was not my intention…

It was not about reviewing and rating books, merely about spreading the word.

Plus, At the time I was working 40-50 hours/week at my dayjob, still editing and publishing Full Armor Magazine, 2 plus writing my own books and poetry, and apartment hunting. Something had to give…
(To make matters worse, I was suffering from colitis).

I was completely overwhelmed, and took a brief blog hiatus. When I began to blog again I ceased the inclusion of Friday Five. It was just too hard to fit that into my schedule. And, although I regretted dropping Friday Five for many reasons, I was relieved that I was no longer getting requests for reviews, etc.

Which brings me to my point:

It’s often debated whether we authors should or shouldn’t review each other’s works.
I’ve heard and considered arguments from both sides of the fence, and found that I can only speak for myself.

Here are the real reasons why I won’t review any book, indie or traditionally published (at least not in any public forum).

Time management. Between my crappy part-time day job, online courses through the Art Institute, Freelance web design work, writing my own books, and everything that indie publishing entails…I simply do not have the time. I wish that I did, but I don’t. Book reviews should not be written in an off-hand, casual manner. They should be written with a lot of thought, and by someone who sincerely enjoys doing them. Dare I say it, by someone who feels it’s their duty to do them. That is not me. Which brings me to my next point.

I don’t want to be known as a book reviewer, or even a reviewer/author. I just don’t think it’s a hat that I want to wear; even as a dual career of author/reviewer. I already proudly wear the dual hats of web designer/author. I don’t want to divide my goals any further as far as writing and editing, etc.

The Quid Pro Quo/Eye for an Eye Scenarios I avoid these scenarios at all cost. If we agree to review each other’s books in a sort of partnership, we foster the scoffer’s thinking that we are a “mutual back-patting society.” If we bash each others books, we risk being scorned and/or having the other author (or their fans) retaliate.

These are just some of my feelings on the matter. For more insight on this issue check out Kristen Lamb’s Blog!

Also, I’d love to hear your take on things…
Agree or disagree?

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New Words to Live (and Write) By.

~When you give up, and when you quit you are letting the haters win.~

~The road to success is made of many small steps, rather than one giant leap.~

~One word at a time…One word at a time…One word at a time…~

~Writer’s block is the result of under-confidence, rather than not having anything to write about. Take a break, and write a list of top 10 things you can do, or the achievements you are most proud of…If you come up with ten (or more!) Start writing again.~

~Don’t let anybody tell you “You can’t…” they’re probably only saying that because they can’t.~

~To paragraph John Lennon, “(Writing) is everybody’s business…it’s only the publishers that think THEY own it.” ~

~Don’t let anybody tell you “But no one wants to read about ____________.” How do they know? People tend to make grandiose statements, and speak for everyone else when they really only should speak for themselves. Nobody should ever speak for all of the readers in the world–people’s tastes vary when it comes to art. Tell your own story the way you want to tell it. Be true to yourself and to your artistic abilities.~

~Surround yourself with positive people. Let them lift you up. Listen to only positive thinkers. The “Negative Nellies” will drag you down if you let them.~

~Chose your mentors wisely. Foolish people will claim themselves as experts even if they’ve only done one thing right their whole life. The internet is full of “self-proclaimed experts” and less than 25% of them actually know what they’re talking about and/or are worth listening to. (there’s a whole separate blog post on this topic next week). What may work well for some may not be the right path for you. Look at the most successful people, take ONE thing they have done and try that out…Talk to educators (real educators) in the field, and get feedback ONLY from people you trust and respect. Again, chose your mentors wisely. ~

~Time is valuable. Take any spare moment you have and WRITE.~

~Read every day. Read mostly in your own genre, but read anything that interests you. Read non-fiction as well as fiction. Read good books, and even skim through bad books. Be a critical thinker and reader. What you like and don’t like about the work of others can help you make critical decisions about your own works, your own storytelling, and style.~

~CONFIDENCE is about more than reading a bad book and saying “I can write a better book than that.” CONFIDENCE is reading a great book, and saying “I can write a book as good or better than this one!”~

~Don’t pigeonhole yourself. We tend to do that with genre, and even with style. So many authors (and soon-to-be authors) go around saying “I only write paranormal romance,” or “I only write literary fiction,” when we should feel free to expand. If your muse is guiding you toward horror, don’t ignore it. If there’s a poem on your heart, write it down. If you don’t want to be known for doing “XYZ thing” then use a pen name, but by all means free that creativity! Maybe you can incorporate it into your own writing somehow, or do a side project…or write some stuff just to write it, without publication. Do not ignore your muse.~

~Formula fiction is a lot like filling out “Mad Libs.” I avoid it at all cost.~

~ The market is fickle. A few years ago we were mesmerized by a boy wizard, then it was vampire love stories, and now the trend is distopia… But epic fantasy has never really gone away, nor has romance, or mystery. As I’ve said before, don’t chase trends, don’t write for the market. Write what YOU want to write, and your books will be more likely to stand the test of time.~

~Feedback is vital, but don’t let your manuscript dwell in the “feedback basement.” That’s when you’re so afraid (or insecure) about your current project that you are trapped in the feedback/revise/feedback/revise/feedback/revise treadmill. At some point, your story is good enough and publish/submit worthy. Have the confidence and knowledge to know (yourself) when that is without relying on someone to TELL YOU when that is.~

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V. I Will Live This Day As If It Is My Last. (part I)

I will live this day as if it is my last.
I will finish this book/this chapter/this rewrite today rather than postpone it for tomorrow.

In short, I will do today’s work TODAY.
Tomorrow’s work belongs to tomorrow.

No longer will I procrastinate, especially with my writing.

Procrastination is another bad habit of mine that I have no choice but to break if I even hope to gain success.

“I will form good habits and become their slaves.”

You never know what tomorrow may bring…
You could wake up in the morning, and be too sick to work on your current project(s).
A storm could knock the power out, and you’d be relying on very little battery juice left in your laptop/tablet/phone.
The internet could be down…
Any number of things could happen that would interfere with your writing/productivity time.

Therefore, we must do what we can to take advantage of every spare moment we have TODAY. Carpe Diem!

Carpe Diem!  Gather ye Rosebuds While Ye May!

Carpe Diem! Gather ye Rosebuds While Ye May!

Take advantage of every spare moment that you have today! Every moment of peace and quiet is writing time, productivity time, and study time. Every uninterrupted second I will put toward work, and work joyfully.

I will treat each day in this matter.

For tomorrow is it’s own new day, and will be full of its own work and accomplishments.

Seize the Day! Live each day as if it is your last.

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Playing Hardball with Myself: Writing and Self-discipline

I need to re-dedicate myself to my writing, and my writing related goals. To do this, I need to discipline myself. It can be hard with my new job, new class schedule, and other demands that accompany the holiday season. Still, I have to make every effort to get myself to where I need to be right now with current projects (there are many), New releases (hopefully soon), and (hopefully) sales.

I am at a time and place right now in my life which is perfect for me to set my sights on new goals, dedicate more time to writing, and focus on the publishing process from beginning to end. However, I lack self-discipline.

I have realized there comes a time to play hard-ball, and make myself stick to a solid writing schedule as well as new release dates. Now those release dates can be flexible…but not to the point where I’m letting a whole year (or years) slip by as I have done in the recent past. I have to stick to some kind of “grace period” of no longer than 3-4 months from my intended release date(s).

I’ll be posting release dates soon, as I work out the schedule and details.

For those of you patiently for Charmed Lives (sequel to Wishful Thinking), I assure you I will be working to make the next 3 titles available ASAP. And, I appreciate you as readers. 🙂

~K. Crumley

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Sorry for being MIA…

Firstly, I apologize for my blogging hiatus these past few months. A lot has happened in my non-writing life that has adversely affected my writing life. I’ll write more about exactly how, in a future post…In short, I had lost my “day job” due to corporate cut-backs, and an impetuous decision to replace manpower with technology. It has deeply impacted me on many levels, including self-confidence.

But for now, I’m regaining my footing in life and trying to come up with a writing schedule and I’ll be revamping my blogging schedule as well. 🙂

Old dreams die…
New ones are born.
Changes are part of life.
So roll with it,
And keep moving on.

~ K. Crumley

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Much Ado About Nothing…

Last week I had participated in another grueling message board conversation about a successfully published commercial author putting down self publishing. Said author did not, in a recent interview, give any real concrete arguments against it. She merely said, “DO NOT SELF-PUBLISH.” Yes, just like that. In all caps.

Needless to say, it offended a bunch of indie authors at this board (as should be expected.) A 10 page long rant ensued. Arguments ensued. Feelings already hurt became trampled on. Insults were hurled about. Nasty comments were made. And, when the dust cleared we all realized it was (as someone else put it) a “knee-jerk reaction” and a little “silly” in retrospect.

So why am I bringing this issue here to my harmless little blog, in which I’ve somewhat refrained from my “pro indie” rants?
Two reasons:

1) I’ve decided to NOT let it get to me anymore. People are going to say what they want, even people who should know better…
This commercial author doesn’t know me, I doubt she’s even read my books. And, yes as a successfully published author you’d expect her words to be more eloquent (gotta credit editors). But, I’ve decided not to let this elitist brand of nay-sayers get to me anymore. I am no longer going to take it personally, unless it actually does get personal. By that I mean, if someone says “A lot of indie books are good, but that K. Crumley’s books really suck…” or “Wishful Thinking was the worse book I ever read…”

If the blanket statements don’t apply to me, then they don’t apply to me. I’m just going to ignore them. I know that I have taken the proper steps to ensure that my books are not the equivalent of literary toilet paper. And, this is something that is my responsibility alone as an indie author.
I’ve made improvements to my books even post-publication, by changing the covers or altering prose, eliminating formatting errors, correcting typos, etc…
Now of course subjectivity comes into play. I write about faeries and mermaids, instead of vampires. My voice is more dramatic than some. If my books are “not for you” then, they’re “not for you.” I can take that type of criticism. Heck, I think most people can.
Yet, I continue to remain true to myself as an author. But now I’m wondering off topic here…
*ahem*

2. I haven’t heard of this author. I haven’t read one book by her. She’s not even in my genre. Her words carry no weight with me.
Now I know some people have a problem with that…in the MB conversation I referred to earlier, people thought that myself and some others were being snide and catty by saying that. As if we’re trying to discredit her level of “fame.” When really, it isn’t that at all (speaking for myself here.)

If I never heard of someone, but they said “XYZ thing.” Then, their comment on XYZ means nothing to me. Who they are in other people’s eyes has nothing to do with my perception of those people. All that author is in my opinion, is another author who went about things another way and has a closed mind toward another way of doing things.

In the arts–or maybe in any field–we chose our own mentors, authorities, and people to emulate. Someone we have never heard of isn’t going to fit into that category (at least not automatically.) And, even those Mentor’s POV’s will be taken with a grain of salt at times. If J.K. Rowling herself came out and said “Authors shouldn’t self-publish right away because they’re selling themselves short…yada yada…” I still wouldn’t stop what I’m doing. But I would listen/read, and respect it as her honest opinion.

Finally, it is no sin to claim you never heard of a “famous” author. People have different levels of familiarity, and as a wise person once said “every author is unknown to some portion of the general public.” That’s irrefutably true. Even if you read avidly, even if you are a writer, there are some authors you never heard of. I think that applies to ANY field, the arts especially. As a dancer, I was shocked to find that one of my friends hadn’t heard of Natalia Makarova, Gelsea Kirkland, Margot Fonteyn, Suzanne Farrell, Et al. She knew full well however about Joel Gray and Baryshnikov. Her knowledge of the dance world, evidently was limited to Cinema. It did not mean that she was trying to discredit my dance knowledge, or any of the prima ballerinas I had named. And, it was a fact that she never heard of them…
No reason for her to be tarred and feathered. I’m sure any advice these esteemed ballerinas would give on dancing would fall on deaf ears with that girl. That’s the only point I’m trying to make.

I could add a third point to this, about the fact that there are people in this world who just love to argue. People who have a bad day, and come online looking for people to take it out on. People who love to bully, or insult other people to make themselves feel superior.
But, I won’t waste my time on that. We all know that it’s best to avoid feeding trolls. 🙂

Have a great week, and enjoy writing and publishing…by whichever means you chose to do so.
Don’t let the generalized statements get to you! 🙂

~K. Crumley

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Writing ADHD (part 1)

I think I have a rare condition known as writers ADHD. Or, simply put “too many good story ideas, to little time.” I tend to have difficulty staying on one project at a time…I kind of bounce around a lot.

For instance, I will be working on something for a while, and then get revisited by the Muse, and have to write some new story ASAP while it’s still fresh in my head. For this reason, a lot of my stories wind up on the back burner…sometimes indefinitely.

I’m try to remedy this situation. What works best for me is to create a spreadsheet with charts for all my current projects.
Divide it up into 2-3 tiers, creating deadlines for “top tier” projects as well as (hopeful) release dates. I find putting that kind of pressure on myself keeps me focused. LOL

Second tier: Older first drafts I really should finish. This tier also includes all the first drafts that I finished and left on the “pre-revision back burner” for far too long…

Third tier: all those new idea brainstorms I have.

So now, I jot down those ideas I get struck by and label them as “future projects.” Then, I go back to my First-tier WIP’s.

Well, that’s just how I get myself off of this “too many projects” never ending treadmill. Feel free to share your own!

~K. Crumley


Disclaimer: This post is in no way meant to offend those who suffer from ADHD, or their families.

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Being True To Yourself

Be true to yourself as a writer. Be true to your muse, your voice, and your spirit.
Don’t try to fit into someone else’s “box” or waste your time trying to emulate others…or worse yet, imitate them.
Yes, they say “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” But, too much “flattery” and your writing won’t be your own. Your stories won’t be your own. Your voice will not be your own.

Tell the stories YOU want to tell, not what you see as being a big seller, or popular trend. Trends come and go…
And, who knows what comes next after this vampire trend ends. It just MIGHT be your story. And, even if it isn’t there’s always someone out there–or maybe several people out there–who aren’t chasing fads, but want something new, fresh, original, and above all else a GOOD STORY.
Focus on the art and craft of writing, get in touch with your Muse…
Don’t sell out your art, in pursuit of a “get rich quick” scheme.

Don’t focus on unreachable goals like becoming an overnight millionaire, or being dubbed “the next so-and-so.”
Set attainable goals, and reach them one at a time. Remember “you have to walk before you can run, and run before you can fly.”
You may not have “overnight success” but you will have some success, whether it being able to live fully off of your writing OR just some small personal goal that you’ve reached.

Take this all for what it’s worth.

Write with pride. Pride in yourself!

~K. Crumley

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Jealous of Other Writers?

The question pops in my mind quite often, rather out of random though or from someone bringing up the subject in an online forum.

Am I jealous of other writers?
Am I jealous of the Amanda Hockings, JA Konraths, and HP Mallorys of this world? Am I jealous of the many indie authors around me, who press on and do well…and release book after book?

Hell yeah, I’m jealous. I’m jealous of MOST other writers in fact. But not for the reasons that you would assume.
I’m not jealous of their sales figures, per say.
I don’t envy the money they’ve earned in revenue.
I don’t envy fame, or being “well known” in certain literary circles.

I covet only one thing…TIME!

I freely, and without any shame admit that I am envious that other writers have more time to write than I do.

Recently I had to take a little vacation from writing, and even from this blog…TO MOVE. Yes, I am renting a nice little apartment (which I love) but all of the packing, moving, cleaning the new place, etc…has taken a significant amount of my (already limited) free time.
Then there is my job, where I work 40 plus hours a week.

I can hear the lectures now…
How I should make time to write. yeah, yeah. I’m getting to that in a bit.

Things will settle down. I’ll get all the rest of my stuff moved in, and have everything “finalized” and be all settled in.

I have a shorter commute to work (THANK HEAVEN) which allows for more writing time. I have no distractions from my parents, and this place is “no pets allowed” so I have no distractions that way (as pleasant as they may be at times). No duties to feed the dogs, take them out, etc. Oh yes, and no barking.

I intend to come up with a writing schedule, and stick to it. Probably in the morning, before work. After work I’m usually way too tired.

And, of course when inspiration strikes, I must write! Even if I just jot what’s in my mind on scratch paper, and type it into a word doc later… 😉

I am sure that this envy will pass as I devote more time to writing and am no longer running around like a chicken with my head cut off. hahaha!

I look forward to getting all settled in at my new place, and just having more time to myself…and more time to write. 😉

~K. Crumley

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